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Chaitrakhan


Round 2 - Top 32: Create a monster concept

1 to 50 of 72 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8, Contributor

Chaitrakhan

Description: Prowling the coldest reaches of the world, the chaitrakhan is a fierce, catlike predator with a dense, broad-backed build and crystal clear eyes. Its snow-bleached coat gives way to an azure patchwork of ice growing from the creature’s body along its forelimbs, spine, and wickedly barbed tail. This ice armor fluoresces an eerie blue light that intensifies as darkness falls and combines with a chaitrakhan’s languid movements to give observers the impression that the creature’s very body shifts between ice and water with each breath. Aggressive and cunning, chaitrakhan view smaller creatures as viable prey, making them a particular threat to humanoids sharing their territory. A single chaitrakhan is formidable but the creature’s ability to mentally connect with others of its kind makes it a deadly pack hunter, stalking and killing yeti, winter wolves, and even dire bears without fear.

Powers and Abilities: A chaitrakhan senses the heat given off by other living things and can pinpoint prey through all manner of illusions and camouflage. They deliberately ambush in blizards and blinding snowstorms to make full use of this advantage. Using the serrated barb at the end of its tail, a chaitrakhan stings its prey and injects a paralytic poison that violently expels water from the victim’s body and instantly refreezes the water into a binding net of ice. Lastly, scent glands in the chaitrakhan’s paws secrete pheromones on fallen snow, attracting others of its kind and creating a shared and cumulative intelligence among pack members. This mental link confers increased speed, strength and heightened awareness on each creature in the bond and makes a chaitrakhan resistant to mind-affecting magic. The mental bond grows in power based on the number of chaitrakhan in the pack.

Pathfinder Creative Director, Frog God Games

I like the visual of this thing--an albino icy, glowing, dire panther. I already want the action figure. Good development of its tactics and pack mentality. I thought the tail sting was a bit jarring and not quite as in sync with the rest of the design for what it is, though I like the results of the sting--another really cool effect. Maybe making it the result of claw swipe or rake attacks from the creature's strange icy growths after a pounce or something. Either way, cool concept and creature.

Contributor

I really like the look of this monster.

I like the heat-sense and how that lets it track down creatures in blinding snowstorms and such.

I like its "poison" stinger and the secondary freezing effect.

I don't think it needs the hive-mentality ability, but the effects are simple enough that it shouldn't get too crazy (you wouldn't want big pack to scale way up in CR, as that makes a CR of a group of them spike higher than just the normal CR-math indicates).

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

I agree with these guys, for essentially being built on a cat chassis, this creature sounds pretty cool.

The stinger is okay in this case, but it seems like one of the default ways to make a monster is to take an animal, stick a scorpion stinger on it, and presto! Instant monster. This seems to be how 8 out of 10 "deadline monsters" are born. I'm not accusing this of being a deadline monster, but there's elements that bring that to mind and that's never good.

The snow-based hivemind, too. Um. I'm just going to pretend I didn't read that.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

"Deadline monster." That's awesome. I'm totally stealing that phrase. I agree this isn't one, but its still a great phrase.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Initial Impression: Killer pack hunting ice kitty. Nice. Looking forward to see how this one plays out...

Concept (name, overall design choices, design niche, playability/usability, challenge): B+
Good, classic monster along the lines of the displacer beast (an all time fave of mine). Limited slightly by the fact that it is only found in cold climates. That never stopped the rhemoraz from being awesome, though. The pack angle is neat. The heat/freeze concepts are well incorporated. I can see this thing sitting nicely on the power curve as a good mid-level foe for snowy adventures. Great minion creature for some evil humanoids.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, world neutral, quality of mandatory content—description, summary of powers): A
Well written. Tight. This is not a first draft, this is a final draft. Good summary of powers. I’m not put off by the sting. It doesn’t feel like a “deadline monster” add on (as Wes so appropriately describes such things). I like the mental link and the way its challenge increases with numbers. I am already thinking through how you would work those things out mechanically and am excited to see how it works. Plus the poison and ice net thing is cool. As is the heat sense. Great slate of abilities here.

Tilt (did it grab me, do I want to use one in an adventure?): A-
Yeah, this thing stuck me and trapped me in an ice net.

Overall: A-
This is a strong submission that can take its place among the classic “evil animal” monsters.

Recommendation: I DO recommend this creature advance.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

You nailed this with the imagery in the first three sentences. I think that the second round is when contestants really start to develop profiles and reputations, and you're shaping up to be the "cinematic coolness" guy.

I'm not sure if I get the hivemind-effect, however. Are all those powers really just the result of pheromonal communication? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that in a week (or, better yet/if applicable, in your third-round submission).


I'd drop the hive mind and just reference a pack mentality, but otherwise this could definitely be a reoccurring animal threat if they existed in certain regions of a campaign world. Great to include in a random monster encounter, for certain.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Urizen wrote:
I'd drop the hive mind and just reference a pack mentality, but otherwise this could definitely be a reoccurring animal threat if they existed in certain regions of a campaign world. Great to include in a random monster encounter, for certain.

I agree with this post in its entirety.


I'm a fan. I get the creeps thinking about being in a dark cave, seeing two or three glow-y bluish chaitrakhan coming at me... And the idea that I can't use any sort of illusion to hide from them, 'cause they're like the Predator and can see my body heat - yikes! I'm down with the stinger, because the freezing effect is pretty cool - I like the image of my body's water being forced out of me, and then freezing me in a net of my own sweat. Blergh. This has my vote. I'm looking forward to playing a campaign against these guys...


I don't like the instant kill tail. This creature seem to powerful to hunt in packs. Creatures hunt in pack in order to over come pray it cant take by its self, but it tail pretty much takes out any thing it comes across.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

This one is on the short list. I like the description, you've given me a habitat for this creature, it's got a cool and scary set of abilities. Good stuff.

Only one thing bothered me: Saying this is a "catlike" predator and then referring to its pack hunting methods. :)

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

This is well-described.

Mechanically and design-wise, it's lacking.

This is an apex predator, totally unsuited for pack hunting.


taig wrote:
Only one thing bothered me: Saying this is a "catlike" predator and then referring to its pack hunting methods. :)
Wolfboy wrote:
This is an apex predator, totally unsuited for pack hunting.

Lions are apex predators. Lions are catlike. Lions hunt in packs.

Andoran

I dig th' visuals.

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

La Femme Nikita wrote:
Lions are apex predators. Lions are catlike. Lions hunt in packs.

I didn't mention lions.


Wolfboy wrote:
La Femme Nikita wrote:
Lions are apex predators. Lions are catlike. Lions hunt in packs.
I didn't mention lions.

:) Right... but you mentioned that apex predators aren't suited for pack hunting. But lions are apex predators, and they hunt in packs... sorry about that... I was replying to two posts in one... my response wasn't clear... again - sorry!

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

La Femme Nikita wrote:
:) Right... but you mentioned that apex predators aren't suited for pack hunting. But lions are apex predators, and they hunt in packs... sorry about that... I was replying to two posts in one... my response wasn't clear... again - sorry!

::chuckle:: Not all apex predators are pack hunters. Plenty of examples that are.

This one isn't—which was my point. Especially in a RPG context.

Andoran Contributor , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

La Femme Nikita wrote:
taig wrote:
Only one thing bothered me: Saying this is a "catlike" predator and then referring to its pack hunting methods. :)
Wolfboy wrote:
This is an apex predator, totally unsuited for pack hunting.
Lions are apex predators. Lions are catlike. Lions hunt in packs.

Lions are the *only* cats that hunt in packs. So, when I read "catlike" I am surprised when I see "pack hunter". It was a minor quibble...

Andoran

Displacer beasts hunt in packs. They're cats.
With tentacles.


Sounds very difficult to defeat.

Even an experienced gamer wielding a well balanced character would be pushed to the brink by such a ferocious predator. It has concealment. It has concealment reduction. Poison. It's power increases exponentially when in pack formation. Exploiting terrain to great advantage, a Chaitrakhan would also probably have surprise and carry the initiative as well, given it's probable feline dexterity.

Really, how do you defend against all that?

I'd run.

I hope this one makes the cut - I can't wait to see it all fleshed out with game stats!!! Who knows? Maybe I'll use it on my little brother someday, eh? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ! ! ! .

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka SmiloDan

By the time a party encounters multiples of this badboy, they're going to have access to fireball, and probably flame strike. These guys are likely to be vulnerable to fire, and fire is one of the main area of effect energy types, so that is good design balance. Also, as you whittle down the numbers of the pack, the benefits of the pack get weaker (figure something like +1 to attack, damage, AC, Perception skill checks, and Will saves (and maybe Reflex saves and initiative) per ice cat within 30 feet or whatever).

I think that's going to be a great design feature too. It seems powerful, but it will prevent the swingy-ness that can occur when fighting multiple lower level critters at high levels (where they either crit you or miss you, and you pretty much auto-hit them), as well as giving them some good defenses that scale with EL/CR.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

I find this a well-designed monster, but it just didn't grok me; that said, if I had more than four votes, you might have got one. ;)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Demiurge 1138

The name chaitrakhan is a bit of a mouthful, but I'm willing to look past it to the creamy monster center. Let's crack one open, shall we?

The physical description of the creature is very evocative, and they'd look great on an art order. The powers are pretty cool--I don't see the water-out->freezing web as an instant kill; more of a Con damage and entangling thing. Which is pretty neat.

But as a biologist, there are some things that are pretty silly. Yes, I know it's D&D, but when I read about a predator that loves nothing more than eating other predators, I sort of snicker. That's no way to make a living, especially if you hunt in packs. That communicate with each other via trails of pheromones that amplify into a hivemind. If we had pheromones or a hivemind, I'd be fine. Combining the two is sort of silly.

I like the look and the powers, but the ecology information is a bit of an obstacle for me. I don't think the chaitrakhan has my vote.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

The Pros: Imagery. Name. Description. Selection of powers. (Almost) all very well and tightly written.

The Cons:

The Scotch Assassin wrote:
I don't like the instant kill tail. This creature seem to powerful to hunt in packs. Creatures hunt in pack in order to over come pray it cant take by its self, but it tail pretty much takes out any thing it comes across.

This. While I don't see the tail attack as an insta-kill, I think it might really cramp the PC's style ;). Also, I'm slightly 'meh' on new wilderness creatures (there's really enough of them as is).

Still, I think you have created something that is broadly useful, no matter if used as the main opponent in an adventure, a minion creature or a mere random encounter. That, for me, is one of the hallmarks of good game design.

I wish you the best of luck for the round. :)


First off, before you got to the collective intelligence part (which is something of a theme or fad this year), this monster was giving me a pokemon vibe (Chaitrakhan used freezing sting. It was super effective!). That was an initial strike against you.

The gestalt intelligence thing sets it apart from pokemon at least, but it presents another problem.

A lot of combats between PCs and monsters get boring after the PCs drop one or two of the monsters. After that the outcome of the battle is a forgone conclusion and the PCs just have to play cleanup. The converse of "these monsters get stronger the more of them there are" is "these monsters get weaker the fewer of them there are". This means that the death spiral for the pack of monsters gets started that much quicker: after the party kills one of them not only are there fewer monsters, but each individual is weaker.

From the point of view of designing an encounter, I would prefer to see a monster that gets stronger after the party drops a couple of its fellows, so that the encounter stays exciting to the end, rather than initial short period of tension followed by a long slog of cleanup.

Sorry, that's not really your monster's problem specifically.

As a player, between chaitrakhan and brown urus, I want to go the polar regions of the world even less. The mechanics suggested by this entry are nasty. Not as nasty as brown urus, but I still want to stay the hell away.

I guess the only things that stop a megapack of chaitrakhan from completely taking over the arctic are brown urus, and the only things keeping a megaherd of brown urus from taking over are chaitrakhan.

Also, although you got away from the pokemon vibe, when I picture chaitrakhan, I still picture them animated rather than illustrated. I guess I'm saying they belong more in a cartoon or JRPG style video game than in Pathfinder. Sorry.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I like the creepy ice cat vibe, especially how it likes to hunt in weather that causes other creatures problems.

The whole "spiny tail with poison that makes water shoot out and make an ice prison" seems tacked on. It feels to me like he didn't think it was powerful enough so he added something extra and it doesn't mesh for me.

Personally, I think an intelligent cat that uses some sort of blindsight to hunt targets in blizzards is great for a low-to-mid-level opponent. Kind of a "help us, something is taking our families in the night" sort of scenario up in the tundra. Imagine a bandit lord with some of these at his disposal - nice.

And hey, we just got that cool flip mat. Hmmmmmmmmm.

Qadira

If the sting is its main attack, I hardly see it being a good game element as an insta-kill. I'm wondering about the possibility of a dehydration effect for victims which manage to survive one or multiple attacks. And the freezing web would certainly cause some damage too.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8, Contributor

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the comments and for the constructive feedback (most important). I wanted to comment earlier but I got lost looking at everyone else's entries!
Best of luck to everyone in Round 2 and I appreciate the reviews.
-QGJ

Osirion Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the monster.

Ditch the name. Too reminescent of Chaka Khan


Qui-gon Jesse wrote:
Chaitrakhan

Goodbye snow leopards, hello chaitrakhan. Maybe I'll run that traipsing-through-an-arctic-wasteland subplot in a campaign after all; these and the astrumal are already giving me ideas for polar encounters.

Vote-worthy.


I like it a lot, and I hope it continues. I don't know how I feel about the tail attack. Paralyzing with an Ice net seems out of character. It seems more like an single creature tactic, rather then a flanking, pac animal tactic. Also a tail attack seems more reptilian then feline. I would give it a detachable tail shard to use as a ranged attack. The shard would have an blood chilling affect, giving a movement penalty, and should the prey fail a Fort save, have a Dex penalty. This seems more in line with a stalking pac animal.

P.S. Give it one shard a day. It wouldn't need more.

Star Voter 2013

racer X wrote:


Sounds very difficult to defeat.

Even an experienced gamer wielding a well balanced character would be pushed to the brink by such a ferocious predator. It has concealment. It has concealment reduction. Poison. It's power increases exponentially when in pack formation. Exploiting terrain to great advantage, a Chaitrakhan would also probably have surprise and carry the initiative as well, given it's probable feline dexterity.

Eh. Fly and fireball usually do the trick against creatures without a ranged capacity.


(edited, softened slightly)
I have some nitpicks with this entry, top of the list being pheromones that create a mind-link. That one doesn't seem to make sense to me, or not if these creatures are out in the wild actively hunting something, not sitting around in a myconid spore mindmeld trance. (Sorry, old-school reference there for comparison of how mind-links have worked on occasions.)
I'm not clear on what the fluorescing 'ice armor' does, apart from presumably provide protection. Being ice, does it melt if the temperature goes up reducing the AC?
I don't like the description 'icy net' that may result from the tail poison. If a victim is sweating uncontrollably only for said water to then freeze it seems to me that its not going to be so much a nice regular net as a cocoon. And is the net/coccon going to be effective if the ambient temperature is well above zero? (For example in an arena combat beneath the baking sun of a desert oasis?) This slightly different take on what might be done with poison is of interest to me though.
And I'm not actually clear of the size of the creatures.

For use in encounters, this creature seems to me to be restricted to arctic/mountainous environs or as a very unusual house-pet/animal-companion. (If statted and the 'mind-link' feature stays, does this give it offer novel powers or an advantage in some way over regular animal cmpanions for a druid or ranger?)

My overall impression of a poorly explained creature. The poison from the tail-sting does lends some panache to the entry however.

Thank-you for submitting this creature.


I like adventuring in cold environments, and I like this creature. One of my top 4. Nice job.

Osirion Marathon Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I gave this one a vote but I really, really, really want to emphasize how much I dislike the name. If you have to give it stat blocks or some such thing in a future round, please rename it so I can use it at the gaming table without hearing "Let me rock you - Chaka Khan" echoing in my head for the rest of the day.

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

myconid spore mindmeld trance

Heh. Just replayed Star Control 2 last week...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

This is nicely executed Jessie! And this is a strong comeback from your previous round. You have a good handle on description. This beastie is also pretty damn cool, pardon the pun.

I'm not going to belabor this post, I'm going to say that this was one of the best entries from a technical perspective. From personal taste, I don't go crazy for wilderness beasties without a ready story to apply them to. Nevertheless, that's a personal bais and not a reflection on your creature. There is definitely a need for them and this is a fine one.

You might get my vote just because this is a superior product. Awesome work, I have some confidence you'll be in Round Three. I'll be surprised if you're not.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Being ice, does [the ice armor] melt if the temperature goes up reducing the AC?

That's a fair point, and I guess it could. But it's a climate based monster, so I'm not sure why that would matter per se... In the real world, you don't see penguins or polar bears out of their environments (unless you're at the zoo)...

I'd like to hear more of your opinions on why you think this is a negative for this creature? Your argument about the arena combat beneath the baking sun of a desert oasis - true, but I'd imagine you wouldn't choose a Frost Worm for that particular type of setting either... but maybe if your arena combat was in an ice arena instead of the desert, you'd have a chaitrakhan and maybe not a flaming ifrit? So your point about this beast being restricted to arctic/mountainous environs seems fair, but I guess I'm just not feeling the other part of your argument about why that's a bad thing per se? I'm fairly new to gaming so I'm still learning, and you seem to have a lot of knowledge to share... I don't mean to come off attacking - I really would like to understand your thoughts on this...

You make a good point on the size though... the entry doesn't state it. I kind of assumed size large though, because in the description mentions that it views "smaller creatures" as prey, making them a threat to humanoids... so it'd have to be larger than size medium, and the description also mentions that it stalks and kills "yeti, winter wolves, and even dire bears" which made me think it was large and not huge or gargantuan or something... thoughts?

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I love this guy! The visual is terrific, the power combos tight and well designed. The tail expelling and freezing water is very cool; it's not insta-kill, just damage (ability or hp) plus an entangling effect. True, this will be a badass in the snow with its ability to overcome visibility limitations. I'm a sucker for cold climate monsters anyway (heck, see my Superstar monsters from 2 years ago), and this one delivers. See, gross-out may get attention, but it's no substitute for bringing quality to the table.

The name is okay; don't love it, don't hate it. The hive mind and pheromones are likewise okay; it's an interesting stab at reinforcing the pack tactics idea with some game mechanics, but it may be gilding the lily and also pushing more people towards logical disconnects from real-world animals (cat + pheromones + hive mind = WTF?).

That said, the nitpicks of "oh no, it's catlike so it can't hunt in packs" - puh-leeze. This is D&D, not Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. If the monster description says it hunts in packs, then it hunts in packs. It's odd to me that something like this would be such a make-or-break issue, but everybody's got their preferences I suppose.

Overall: Very good. On my short list and very likely to get a vote.


La Femme Nikita wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Being ice, does [the ice armor] melt if the temperature goes up reducing the AC?

That's a fair point, and I guess it could. But it's a climate based monster, so I'm not sure why that would matter per se... In the real world, you don't see penguins or polar bears out of their environments (unless you're at the zoo)...

I'd like to hear more of your opinions on why you think this is a negative for this creature? Your argument about the arena combat beneath the baking sun of a desert oasis - true, but I'd imagine you wouldn't choose a Frost Worm for that particular type of setting either... but maybe if your arena combat was in an ice arena instead of the desert, you'd have a chaitrakhan and maybe not a flaming ifrit? So your point about this beast being restricted to arctic/mountainous environs seems fair, but I guess I'm just not feeling the other part of your argument about why that's a bad thing per se? I'm fairly new to gaming so I'm still learning, and you seem to have a lot of knowledge to share... I don't mean to come off attacking - I really would like to understand your thoughts on this...

You make a good point on the size though... the entry doesn't state it. I kind of assumed size large though, because in the description mentions that it views "smaller creatures" as prey, making them a threat to humanoids... so it'd have to be larger than size medium, and the description also mentions that it stalks and kills "yeti, winter wolves, and even dire bears" which made me think it was large and not huge or gargantuan or something... thoughts?

As to the queries I have been making in my posts on Round 2 threads, some of them are questions about details omitted this Round I feel could have been there or better clarified, and some of them are questions regarding things which may well end up in stat-blocks that could be a subject of a future round and my attempts to get contestants thinking creatively about what they could do there? Pathfinder and its D&D forerunners have a long and rich history of creatures which - whether derived from real world mythology or other sources - have neat little touches, such as Rakshasas not getting on very well with holy pointed objects or golems immune to most magic and yet which interact with some spells in unusual manners. The 'ice armor' of a chaitrakhan seems to me to offer one of those moments where something could be developed like that.

(Also on the subject of the ice armor I have since been wondering if the fluorescing patterns give a bonus to intimidate checks, perhaps useful if the creatures employ the Dazzling Display (pun incidental) feat chain?)

As to size, I'm not clear how large a chaitrakhan might be. Real world cat family animals currently go from domestic cat size (and there are probably smaller wild cats out there I don't know about) up to lion-sized...

Edit:
And welcome to the Paizo boards, by the way.


Very cool monster.
Excellent imagery.
Clear description of abilities.
Definately adds to the limited assortment of arctic monsters.
Sounds intimidating, and therefore I can sense the danger of the beast.

I agree with others that the pack mentality is a bit out-of-place. If it was described more, we might get a better picture. Most arctic predators do not travel in packs, save wolves. Polar Bears, Lynx, and other such animals are usually solitary hunters simply for the fact that if they are lucky enough to catch something they can't afford to share it. However, some great cats, like lions, do live in packs. If that had been put into the description it may have been better.

Still, that's all nit picking over one tiny point.

I like it and it's near the top of my list.

Ken


The Scotch Assassin wrote:
I don't like the instant kill tail. This creature seem to powerful to hunt in packs. Creatures hunt in pack in order to over come pray it cant take by its self, but it tail pretty much takes out any thing it comes across.

I agree with my doppelganger.

This thing seems like a large predator to me. At least that's the image in my head. In the wild, most large predators are solitary. The only time this is occasionally contradicted is in locations where food is plentiful for their prey, and I don't think the arctic tundra qualifies as a place where food is plentiful. There is a reason polar bears are generally found alone. They would starve in large groups.

However, you didn't say that this was a large creature. It's entirely possible that these things are the size of a bobcat. That would make it about 3 feet long, and actually a small creature. If that is what you intended, I could totally see a pack of small predators banding together to bring down a yeti.

Actually, as cool as this thing seems as a large critter, I can't think of any examples of small beasties to throw at the PC's while they wander the arctic. Maybe that's your niche.

My opinion is that this is a decent critter. I hope if/when you stat this, you either drop the hive-mind, or make it a small creature.

Still more to read, but you may get my vote.

EDIT: I posted without reading all of the comments, so I see that most of my comments were already addressed. I therefore removed one of my points, so as to not beat a dead horse.

Andoran Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

I really like this monster, but you hit my Achilles Heel, Icy stuff.

Andoran

great imagery... i already want to see it animated :D

reat concept indeed... i like the pherormone thing, its better than hive mind, and a good way of hunting down prey... 3 of this would put any group throug lot of missery.

good luck :)

Star Voter 2013


Needs a name change for the obvious associative reasons. I would fear for the sanity of a GM that threatens the PCs with an '80s RnB group.

youtube:Chaka Khan - I Feel For You

Awesome description, only thing missed is its physical size. Is it taller than a humanoid, Or just physically more massive?

"... and wickedly barbed tail" Might have added 'long' as part of the description of the tail and made it a spiked tail

"the creature’s ability to mentally connect with others" An alpha predator the hunts in packs and uses telepathy this creature is the right kind of deadly. Mental link needs some fine tuning.

"A chaitrakhan senses the heat given off by other living things" how does it sense heat? Thermal vision, specialized glands, it's whiskers...

"Using the serrated barb at the end of its tail" yep serrated spike works just as well ;), and it gives a whip/slash attack

"Using the serrated barb at the end of its tail, a chaitrakhan stings its prey and injects a paralytic poison that violently expels water from the victim’s body and instantly refreezes the water into a binding net of ice" kind of a clumsy sentence. hmm the poison could serve of medicinal value as well

"Lastly, scent glands in the chaitrakhan’s paws secrete pheromones" not sure if lastly is best transition, it states that this is creatures last ability. I'm not sure I like pheromones creating a mental bond, and hive mind

Good job this an excellent creature, requires just a tad bit of modification to the mental powers but other than that its ready go directly into game.


Praise:
Wow, Jesse, just wow. This creature is terrible and beautiful. It's dangerous and intelligent and original. Your description is concise, to the point, and says everything you needed to say. That is important. But further, this creature is believable, fun, and totally bad ass. At the same time, it's simple, and wouldn't take too much work to run it, even with a few pack tweaks.

Concerns:
Not many. Pack rules can always be complex, but this isn't an overly complicated creature to begin with. It could be annoying, but isn't likely to be.

Overall:
This entry has that spark of "Superstar" that I look for. The description and capabilities mesh together perfectly. Your writing style is simple and you were able to convey this creature's deadly beauty in no uncertain terms. The part about ice armor and blue fluorescence particularly grabbed me, as deadly creatures like this are rarely so pleasant to look upon, adding another layer of danger as the potential victim mistakes the beauty for mercy. I can see a lot of story potential, as a particularly cunning member of this species works to expand their territory.

I liked, but did not love, your Snapleaf. However, like the Snapleaf, one of this creature's best features is it's interesting and evocative name, and as has been mentioned many times, names are very important.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

How did the author respond to the challenge? Nice visual description and its abilities are explained well.

How does it stack up


  • as an opponent? Being attacked in a blizzard by a pack of creatures that can see right through it sounds like no fun at all. I'm looking forward to see what you had in mind for the mechanical effect of that poison. They might drop off in threat quickly as members of the pack go down.
  • as something other than an opponent? Describes well how they fit into their environment. They don't really interact socially with anyone.
  • in relation to other monsters? The selection of cold-dwelling creatures is not that large and the combination of pack hunters with an odd poison is novel.
  • in relation to the author's item? Different level and different concept, though there's some similarity in the importance of vision and crystalline appearance.
  • in itself? There are just a few points in the text where connections made seem, I won't say off, but a little odd. I'm not sure I can picture the visual shift between spiky iced-up fur and water. The mental link confers increased speed - but how? Pheromones wiped into the snow from their paws seems an uncertain way to sustain such a close and vital link. I don't know if it's fully solidified or needed another edit.

Nice work, though I'm left with some sense that points could have been explained better.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Epic Meepo

My thoughts on the chaitrakhan...

The Name: As nonsense words go, I didn't have a problem with it, though I see other posters have valid concerns.

The Description: One of the best descriptions in this round, hands down. I can picture the action figure of this monster right down to the exact color and consistency of the plastics used in its construction.

The Powers: Whereas the physical description of this monster was beautifully written, the description of its tail attack was quite clunky. First, describing it as a sting makes it sound more like a scorpion sting than a cat-like tail with spikes. Second, I'm not quite sure I understand what the poison does. Is is paralytic in addition to making you sweat and entrapping you in ice, or is the entrapment a description of how the poison enacts its paralysis? Beyond that, the unnecessary hive-mind ability seems a bit extraneous to the creature's theme.

The Buzz: Several posters have pointed out that "chaitrakhan" sounds a bit like "Chaka Khan," which is unfortunate. That's the sort of thing that could deflate the tension in a cool fight scene by inspiring the players to start cracking jokes at least once a round.

The Vote: If I were voting purely on description, this one would win. But the whole stinger-tail thing seemed a bit clunky, to the point that it distracted me from the wonderful image that I'd built up in my head while reading the preceding text. Unfortunately, that means I won't be voting for the chaitrakhan.

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